What’s Happening to America ?

 

The roots of Christianity that used to permeate every facet of American life have been drying up over the past 50 years.  We could go back even further with the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.  With the advancements of science and the continued development of education among American Citizens, we have seen the deterioration of Christianity .

As much as social progressives have been driving this train IMHO I feel they have left out some crucial planning along the way.  Organized Christianity played an important part in controlling the masses.  People were taught if they disobeyed God’s Laws their punishment was eternal.  They would go to Hell and burn in a Lake of Fire for eternity.

I don’t see where this is being replaced in American Society.  It seems that too many people are far more concerned with removing religion from Government, Politics, Public Schools, Armed Forces, etc. that they haven’t given much thought of how to fill this vacuum .

In 2009 the American Humanist Association launched a campaign in 5 cities where they bought advertising on city buses which read, “Be good for goodness sake” during the Christmas Holidays.  This should be a reoccurring theme among all Americans all of the time.

The Christian Right is correct that there appears to be a decay in values in America.  Where many people miss the mark is that Traditional Values are not exclusive with any certain group.  It’s still important to be kind to your neighbor no matter who you are.  And of course, “Be good for goodness sake !”

 

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62 thoughts on “What’s Happening to America ?

  1. I would also add that many people who are Christians adhere to this maxim.

    The trouble with fundamental Christians (found in the Religious Right) is that they feel they get to dictate to everyone else and take their antiquated ‘values’ – like the hierarchal structure which enforces the patriarchal system – to the extreme . IF ONLY people would be ‘good for goodness sake’ and treat others as they’d like to be treated – wouldn’t it be grand?

    As I’ve suggested to someone else who exemplifies values that I think are sustainable – can you please run for office? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “As I’ve suggested to someone else who exemplifies values that I think are sustainable – can you please run for office?”

    Never in a million years ! 🙂 🙂

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  3. I think it depends on what values you mean. Life? Godliness? Because, while the mainstream media blows every single negative thing it possibly can out of proportion, and while there are problems, like racism, drug abuse, etc. the statistics actually show that the crime rate is down nationwide.

    There are a couple of things driving the trend of unkindness you have noted. One is a me, mine, and my own attitude which you can see being played out in the political arena and this social media culture which has dehumanized anyone with a differing opinion. It’s no longer agreeing to disagree or disagreeing without being disagreeable. No, it’s changed to threats and insults and trading barbs like third graders on a playground.

    I think that the Platinum Rule should be instated whenever possible. It’s not good enough to just do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should actually be doing unto our neighbors better than we would have done unto ourselves.

    Liked by 5 people

    • “I think that the Platinum Rule should be instated whenever possible. It’s not good enough to just do unto others as you would have done unto you. We should actually be doing unto our neighbors better than we would have done unto ourselves.”

      I knew I did this post for a reason, Ruth. It was so I could read a comment like this and have it really hit home. I know you have been going through some rough times, but it certainly hasn’t kept you from touching others. Thank you for your comments. They are always appreciated here.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, Ken. My other half is a news junkie. He either has CNN or FoxNews on all.the.time. Or he’s listening to conservative talk radio. It all does my head in. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sticking my head in the sand and pretending that problems don’t exist, but I refuse to dwell on them without trying to be part of the solution to those problems. A good friend once told me, “Desperate people do desperate things.” I think that’s what we’re seeing played out ever day on the news. We can get into the why’s and wherefore’s of just why they are so desperate. We can debate that til the cows come home. Martin Luther King, Jr. is famous for having said a number of things and among them is this, “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed, without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.”

        We can speak out against the violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, Charlotte, the list goes on and on. And I certainly agree that burning down buildings and busting windows is wrong. But can we really hear what the people behind it are saying? I wonder what I would be saying and/or doing had I been alive during the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. Would I care that Rosa Parks was relegated to the back seat of the bus? Or that she couldn’t go into the same bathroom as me? Or that she would have to drink from a different water fountain? Would I have even understood what the clamor was all about or why that was so very wrong? Or would I just want those who protested to just shut up and keep to their place?

        On a brighter note: I saw this this morning and thought it an awesome read, a noble project, and am wondering how I might be able to help with something like this in South Georgia:

        https://www.fastcoexist.com/3056129/this-house-costs-just-20000-but-its-nicer-than-yours

        Liked by 1 person

        • “On a brighter note: I saw this this morning and thought it an awesome read, a noble project, and am wondering how I might be able to help with something like this in South Georgia:”

          I like the concept Ruth but how do we teach the people who move into them to properly maintain them and not tear them up ? I have seen “Project Housing” torn down and replaced with new low-income individual family homes only to see those torn down after a few short years.

          I love the concept and it should be afforded to everyone. Instilling pride of ownership seems to be the missing link in some of these situations. It certainly doesn’t mean we stop trying.

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          • Oh, I agree. I’ve seen that, too. I don’t think these homes are “given” to people. They are homes that people who live below the poverty line can afford, which indicates that they have some skin in the game. I think that’s how you instil pride of ownership. Plus, if I understood it correctly the people who live in them don’t own them. It’s sort of a commune, if you will. The community owns the houses. The community is kind of a modern day utopia, where they grow their own food, etc. But all the people in the community have to work the garden, tend the animals, etc. Working hard, with one’s own hands tends to give self-worth, even if you’re not paid exorbitant amounts of money. There are people who work hard every day of their living life who don’t earn a living wage. They can’t afford a house, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love to have one or that they wouldn’t take care of it if they had one.

            But it’s my understanding that there are rules within the community, just like everywhere else.

            Liked by 1 person

        • ” He either has CNN or FoxNews on all.the.time. Or he’s listening to conservative talk radio. It all does my head in.”

          Oh dear, I can I ever relate. My ex did the same thing — All. The. Time. These are mediums where negativity bias is over-the-top, and being used as a psychological tactic. A number of studies have suggested that negativity is essentially an attention magnet. This means that it’s also a huge money maker, and the media knows it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I come in the door and that junk’s on. I confess to watching it just long enough to see what’s happening in the world, but I don’t consider it “news”. There is no news there. It’s all opinion shows, not serious journalism where just the facts are presented. I’m not even sure where you get that anymore.

            I can only take so much of it and then I’m like, “Turn that sh…shtuff off.”

            Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree with Ruth regarding the Platinum Rule. The problem I see is systemic. We live in a culture of shame that has become epidemic according to several studies. So, while Christianity, for example, was a main player in inducing shame in the American psyche, it also played a role in teaching people that they were intrinsically depraved, and not able to be ethical, empathetic and compassionate without religion. As the saying goes in tech speak — garbage in, garbage out.

    Richard Sennett is a Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. He has been a Fellow of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He states: “Shame has taken the place of violence as a routine form of punishment in Western societies.”

    A study of schoolchildren found that only 4% had not been the targets of adult shaming; including “rejecting, demeaning, terrorizing, criticizing (destructively), or insulting statements” (Solomon & Serres, 1999).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think pansychism is going to dominate the “spiritual” landscape in coming centuries. It exists perfectly with science (indeed, it’s championed by some of the world’s leading phycisists, like Tegmark), and it satisfies Ruth’s Platimum Rule by placing full responsibility of action on the individual.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JZ, either that is a relatively new term in philosophy (since my University days – a long time ago!) or I wasn’t paying attention when I learned about it. . .either way, I like the idea. 🙂

    Reading blog comments (and I think I’ve mentioned this before) is like being in school every day. ..

    Like

    • “Reading blog comments (and I think I’ve mentioned this before) is like being in school every day. ..”

      Ain’t that the truth, which is why reading comments is my favorite part of the blog-o-sphere.

      Liked by 1 person

      • . . . with the added benefit of not having the “Do we have anything DUE in this class today?” question in one’s mind. For lifelong learners (which we should all be), blogs are a rich source of education. I always come away from a discussion with something to think about. . .and sometimes a song stuck in my head. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Though I do enjoy engaging others over religion , especially over at Nate’s, there are times I wish we could all move forward . I feel my life is much more fulfilling when I am finding solutions rather than dwelling over the problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve done a lot of studying on the successes of countries such as Denmark, which has one of the highest rates of happiness and economic success in the world (human well being). What I think is happening in America is that while Christianity is declining, the religious right, voting for politicians that work overtime to significantly curtail the social safety net, and other factors important to the well being of its citizens.

    What seems to be happening is that Southernomics is taking over all of America, rather than just the South, which has the worst well being in the country. Southernomics is notorious for exploiting workers, busting unions and being stingy with investments in public services.

    Michael Lind, a historian and native Southerner has a book out called “Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States.” In it, he states:

    “Southernomics,” an economic policy honed in the Old South, is spreading across the United States.”

    Southern residents have the lowest healthy life expectancy of any U.S. citizens regardless of race, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This region also has the worst child poverty, and Southern states have the highest rate of citizens without health insurance. The south also has the highest crime and incarceration rate.

    Compare that do Denmark. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-economy-happiness/201511/why-is-denmark-the-happiest-country-in-the-world

    My point being — when you have an environment with an authentically caring government and leaders/lawmakers, where its citizens are a priority, it will generally have a positive impact on how people treat others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops, sorry for my poor grammar. What I meant to say was that while Christianity is declining, the religious right, voting for politicians that work overtime to significantly curtail the social safety net, and other factors important to the well being of its citizens, have a stronghold on America.

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    • I think you and the country of Denmark are on to something Victoria ! 🙂

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    • The company I work for recently hired a CPA to act as Controller. He’s a huge proponent of Southernomics. He is utterly peeved that there is such a thing as minimum wage. He believes companies should be able to hire people at whatever wage they are willing to work. If they’re willing to work for peanuts, then so be it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People like that fail to see the bigger picture. I’ve worked for fortune 500 companies whose policies are PSP — people, service, profit. You treat your employees right, they will produce the service that will bring in the profit. Give your employees a living wage, and they will stimulate the economy. It’s not rocket science.

        Liked by 2 people

        • No, I totally agree. And apparently, even though he’s a CPA, maybe he didn’t have to study the Great Depression and the whole reason why we have a minimum wage. Or maybe he just thinks there’s nothing wrong with exploiting people. Who knows? I’m just glad he doesn’t own a company. Not that I would work there if he did. All he seems concerned with is the bottom line and corporatizing a family operation.

          Liked by 1 person

    • While I don’t disagree with these findings, I think that American Government and Unions may be too corrupt for this to work here in the USA. I know I sound like a pessimist , but I like to consider myself a realist. Could it work here ? Of course ! But it will take decades of changing the mindset of our citizens, politicians and union leaders. We can only hope and try to become part of the solution instead of the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good point Ken. The big difference between Danes and Americans is trust.

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        • This is why I believe in term limits and stiffer penalties for government employees who break the law.

          Speaking of shame, I was in Greece not so long ago and visited the ancient village of Olympia. Our guide showed us empty pedestals which lead to the entrance of the old Olympic stadium. They were used as stands for statues of athletes who had been caught cheating during the games for all the people to walk past as they entered the stadium. The walk of shame as it was known.

          Maybe we need something like this leading up to the Nation’s Capital ? Hmmm. 🙂

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  9. “Maybe we need something like this leading up to the Nation’s Capital ? Hmmm. “\

    We might have to start placing the statues at St Louis ! LOL🙂

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  10. Is there really a vacuum to be filed?
    When doctors remove a tumor do they debate about filling the void with something else?

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  11. What I meant by this Ark is that “The Church” has always been around to reinforce their morals so as to keep the masses in line.

    Yes, I think a Godless society would still need to reinforce a set of morals as people tend to have short memories or maybe don’t care about morals in the first place. We can’t always depend on parents to teach their children to be good for goodness sake can we ?

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    • Ken, what morals are you referring to? The most secular countries in the world, such as in Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, have done just fine. I guess I’m just not getting where you are coming from. It sounds as if you think that without religion we will decay as a society. The masses don’t need controlling. Some of the worst offences to humanity have been by authoritarian governments and religions, i.e., the Abrahamic faiths, whose aim was to control the masses.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. What I am saying is, the Ancients had moral codes before the 10 commandments. Doesn’t a society need some type of moral code to maintain civility even though they consider themselves secular ?

    Like

    • Well, “moral codes” have been around since the dawn of homo sapiens.But, these so-called moral codes have often been applied within the tribes, but anyone outside of those tribes was fair game, much like the behavior you see in the bible. Cooperation is necessary for survival. Empathy is innate.

      “Teaching empathy and compassion has become a big focus among progressive schools. These studies suggest that perhaps kindness doesn’t need to be taught anew as much as supported more continuously from an early age. Children’s empathy seems inborn, a gift that is ours as a society to lose depending on how we react to these earliest overtures.”

      http://www.developmentalscience.com/blog/2012/12/02/is-empathy-learned-or-are-we-born-with-it

      And this from Psychology Today:

      “As I’ve discussed in my book Society Without God, and as I extensively elaborate on in my newest book Living the Secular Life, those democratic nations today that are the most secular, such as Scandinavia, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, etc., are faring much better on nearly every single indicator of well-being imaginable than the most religious nations on earth today,

      The Save the Children Foundation publishes an annual “Mother’s Index,” wherein they rank the best and worst places on earth in which to be a mother. And the best are almost always among the most secular nations on earth, while the worst are among the most devout. The non-profit organization called Vision of Humanity publishes an annual “Global Peace Index.” And according to their rankings, the most peaceful nations on earth are almost all among the most secular, while the least peaceful are almost all among the most religious.

      According to the United Nations 2011 Global Study on Homicide, of the top-10 nations with the highest intentional homicide rates, all are very religious/theistic nations, but of those at bottom of the list – the nations on earth with the lowest homicide rates — nearly all are very secular nations.”

      So, it seems to me that you are assuming that countries who claim to have the upper hand on morality because they have religion, in fact, don’t.

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  13. Thanks Victoria. I really do appreciate you taking the time to share this with me. I will continue to read on the subject.

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    • Gosh, Ken, clearly I suck at proofing, Lol. Sorry about that. What I meant to write was:

      “So, it seems to me that you are assuming that countries who claim to have the upper hand on morality because they have religion, are more moral, when in fact, they aren’t.

      Like

  14. This was the opening paragraph of the last link you provided. “It is said over and over again by religious conservatives: without faith in God, society will fall apart. If we don’t worship God, pray to God, and place God at the central heart of our culture, things will get ugly.”

    Nor am I trying to claim this either.

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    • You wrote: “I don’t see where this is being replaced in American Society. It seems that too many people are far more concerned with removing religion from Government, Politics, Public Schools, Armed Forces, etc. that they haven’t given much thought of how to fill this vacuum .”

      Then when Ark wrote “is there really a vacuum to be filled”, you replied: “es, I think a Godless society would still need to reinforce a set of morals as people tend to have short memories or maybe don’t care about morals in the first place.”

      How about we simply follow our Constitution and Bill of Rights? But that is being chipped away because of a very conservatively religious sector in our society seeking to implement their own moral code — that which is in the bible, and that which does not believe all people are created equal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m OK with that but now we have another problem. We have a fast growing part of our society which practices the 3rd Abrahamic religion who may want to impose their morals on us as well. What happens then ?

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        • Well, this is why we should be very cautious about religion in our public schools, our government, our politics, the military, etc., etc.

          “This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.”

          U.S. Representative Christopher Shays, Republican-CT, (New York Times 3/23/05)

          Like

  15. I don’t always articulate my thoughts properly. I will work on this. 🙂

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  16. Which answer are you referring to Victoria ?

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  17. Oh OK. Thanks ! I’m not sure I am familiar with GC’s blog.

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  18. I don’t think I have. I believe I have seen him over at Nate’s. But it’s OK. Thank’s for making me aware of his blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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